Name: Brittany van Schravendijk
Location: San Diego, California
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
Being a Girl Gone Strong means defying society’s stereotype of the “ideal” female body type and instead focusing on using your body to do something that empowers you and makes you physically and mentally stronger—lifting weights, playing a sport, or just training hard.
How did you get introduced to strength training, and how long have you been training?
I have been strength training since high school when I joined the Track & Field team. Since then, I dabbled in powerlifting and simply lifting for fun, before getting serious with Kettlebell Sport in 2012. All in all, I’ve been lifting weights regularly for about nine years.
What does a sample workout look like for you?
Currently, I am focused on training to become a Master of Sport in kettlebell lifting for 2x24kg Long Cycle and 24kg Snatch. A typical workout would include Long Cycle interval training, or an 8-12 minute Snatch set with varying weights.
Accessory work includes squats, deadlifts, running, and some hand balancing!
Long Cycle (Clean and jerk) with two kettlebells is my favorite lift.
Most memorable PR:
I hit two PR’s (and two World Records for my weight class!) in 2x16kg Biathlon (Jerk and Snatch) and 2x16kg Long Cycle at the Orange Kettlebell Club California Open 2016 at the end of February. My coach, Denis Vasilev, was there to help me through my set, and I was neck and neck with my competitors for both events. I managed to clinch it in the last few seconds of the 10-minute set! I won the Best Overall Lifter trophy for both events.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
- ‘Til I Collapse – Eminem
- Mirrors – Justin Timberlake (my kettlebell Snatch song!)
- Champion – Stic.man
- Family Affair – Mary J. Blige
- Jungle Remix – X Ambassadors
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym or in your gym bag:
- Weightlifting shoes by Adidas or Nike
- Weightlifting belt by Bellevator
- Water bottle
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I usually train alone because my schedule is different from most people. Since I lift where I work, I train during off hours, otherwise I get distracted by talking to clients. I prefer lifting with others though—it gives me that extra motivation to push harder!
Best compliment you’ve received lately:
John Wild Buckley (founder of the Orange Kettlebell Club) called me the best pound for pound female kettlebell lifter in America. He also said I reminded him of a lioness when I lift, which is a compliment I enjoyed even more.
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
I complimented one of my clients for doing an amazing chalk job on his kettlebell!
Fried eggs, sautéed kale and tomato, and a baked sweet potato with peanut butter.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Get a massage and cupping, or take a nap.
“Any skill worth having is worth working for.”
“If you want something bad enough, there’s always a way.”
Harry Potter, hands down.
What inspires and motivates you?
There are many people who inspire and motivate me, including many strong women like those at Girls Gone Strong and in the kettlebell community, but mostly I am driven by an internal desire to be my best self.
I am motivated when I see my hard work earning me the results I want and getting me closer to my goals.
What else do you do?
I maintain my blog, travel for kettlebell competitions, practice handstands all the time and everywhere, go to the beach, and hike mountains.
What does a typical day look like for you, from waking up to bedtime?
If I work at KOR that day, I am there teaching classes and working with clients from 9am to 1pm, and again from 4pm to 9pm. Between 1 and 4pm I either train, film videos, or go home for a quick lunch.
If I don’t work at KOR, I usually start the day by working on articles or projects for my blog and communicating with clients. Then I go to the gym and do my Kettlebell Sport training. Some days I go hiking, head to the beach for outdoor playtime, or meet up with a friend.
I’m not a nightlife person—I prefer to stay at home and plan for the next day, read, or catch up on my social media newsfeed before I go to bed.
Your next training goal:
I’m working towards competing in Long Cycle with two 24kg kettlebells.
What are you most grateful for?
I’m grateful for the people and opportunities that have come into my life in the past year. When I moved to San Diego a year and a half ago, I had no idea where I was going to work or live, and I barely knew anyone. Now I absolutely love every day of my life, from the people I work and hang out with to the way I spend my time.
What life accomplishment are you most proud of?
What many people don’t know about me is that I have a degree in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley. During the third year of my studies I came to the realization that I really didn’t feel passionate about engineering, and the idea of sitting behind a computer every day from 9 to 5 was looming before me like a prison sentence. I decided to ignore what everyone else would think and made my part-time job at a gym my full-time job—and I’ve never looked back! I’m proud of having an engineering degree from UC Berkeley, but I’m also proud that I decided to follow my heart and work in fitness instead.
Three words that best describe you:
Friendly, passionate, and strong.
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from strength training?
Strength training has increased my self-confidence tremendously. Feeling physically strong makes me feel empowered because I’m proud of what I can do with my body and what I look like.
This confidence transfers over to everything from learning new skills to talking in front of a room full of people.
Oh, and my defined arms and chiseled abs!
How has lifting weights changed your life?
Lifting weights completely changed my life—especially the day I first picked up a kettlebell. Who knew that lifting kettlebells would literally become my whole life, and my career? I can’t believe that what I absolutely love to do (coach and lift kettlebells) pays my bills and allows me to travel the world and meet amazing friends.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start strength training?
We’re all scared of trying new things, but don’t let that fear stop you from discovering your true potential! I don’t know anyone who lifts weights and regrets having started—and what have you got to lose? Strength training is a great way to build a strong body and mind.
Are you feeling inspired by Brittany? Read on to learn more about—and join!—our community of strong, inspiring women…